Lately, I’ve been obsessed with finding the Great Iz’s version of “Over the Rainbow” for easy piano.
The song is so popular here on Maui that one forgets the original melody written by Harold Arlen, made famous by Judy Garland in the movie “Wizard of Oz.” Iz’s version, however, is quite different from the original.
The valley isle of Maui is also known as the island of rainbows, a frequent and beautiful phenomenon. In my fourth year of living on this sunny tropical island, I daresay, it truly is THAT awesome and THAT beautiful.
As a newcomer to the music scene in Hawaii, I easily associate Iz, short for Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, the late Hawaiian singer, to Oz — the stories I grew up reading in Okinawa about a magical land. Indeed, Hawaii is a paradise of nature, music, and aloha.
Below is the result of my obsession, after pouring over various versions of “Over the Rainbow” including a choral piece. [Click on the sample image below to get the four-page score PDF format.]
I have to confess, however, that I deliberately arranged a version that’s incomplete, for it’s intended for my piano students to figure out the ending and the flexibility to play in a group situation. Of course, some of my students also play the ukelele. If we run out of pianos, they can always whip out the “uk” !
Not surprisingly, I chose this piece to add to the “earth day” repertoire for my concert on April 25th and the free piano workshop on April 22nd — the Earth Day Jam.